Kartoon Studios announced the creation of a new film division, Kartoon Films, which will be led by former Disney execs David Neuman and Paul Robinson. Emmy-winning producer/director Mike Maliani will oversee creative.
Kartoon Films will develop and produce a package of original full-length animated features for children based on existing Kartoon Studios properties. These new films will leverage AI technology to animate more content, in less time and reduce expenses, while staying true to the Company’s core focus on human creativity and positive content. The new films will debut exclusively across the Kartoon Channel! U.S. streaming platforms in 2024, as well as being distributed to broadcasters and streamers globally.
Films slated to debut in 2024 and 2025 reflect the importance of the Stan Lee brand in the Company’s future, as well as the importance of pre-sold recognizable properties, including:
- Stan Lee’s Cosmic Crusaders (featuring Stan Lee)
- Stan Lee’s Superhero Kindergarten
- Llama’s Big Adventure (Llama Llama)
- An Omaha Yankee in King Arthur’s Court (Warren Buffett’s Secret Millionaires Club)
- Fix and Foxi
- Rainbow Rangers Hot Concert to Cool Global Warming (Rainbow Rangers)
“We have observed a strong appetite for recognized brands that began in either television, toys, video games, or publishing, to become full-length animated feature films,” said Andy Heyward, Kartoon Studios CEO. “We have seen this with top brands like Super Mario Brothers, Sonic the Hedgehog, Spiderman, the Grinch, and Hotel Transylvania, which were translated into animated movie hits. Much of our catalogue has such roots and pedigree, with a number of brands coming from successful books like Llama Llama or Rainbow Rangers and from brands and pedigrees like Stan Lee.”
“By using both AI, human creativity, and the existing assets that have already been developed with the brands, production costs will be reduced, while upholding the highest levels of quality,” added Mike Maliani. “Previously the costs of producing an original full-length animated feature for a streaming service were prohibitive, however with the advent of AI technology, and using existing key materials, footage, and animation cycles already in place, we now have an incredibly cost-effective model that we believe is a game changer, which will enable quality animated films to be brought to the consumer for a fraction of what it would have previously cost. We can do all this while maintaining our focus on content written by proven industry creators. We like this model, because we are investing in our own brands, as we additionally drive awareness for consumer product sales, as well as viewership for our channel, and creating an evergreen asset that can be used again and again.”
The company will additionally draw titles from its Munich-based affiliate company, Your Family Entertainment. Certain films will feature celebrity voice actors, as well as original music sound tracks, while highlighting a diversity of characters, global names, and a mix of ages, genders, and ethnicities. Additionally, the Company is planning seasonal titles (e.g., Halloween, Christmas etc.).
Paul Robinson, President of Kartoon Channel! Worldwide, who will oversee global distribution, stated, “Full-length animated features have consistently been one of the most successful genres of all entertainment, and are very attractive to broadcasters worldwide. They steadily over-index, attracting large audiences. Whether the timeless classics from Disney, or hits from Pixar, DreamWorks, and Illumination, we know they perform well. The films will be family friendly, non-violent, and embrace positive themes. We view the animated feature film business for global services as the game changer catalyst to propel the channel forward to significant earnings.”
Source: Kartoon Studios